● One in two (45%) Brits would willingly move their money to a ‘safe account’ if told by a supposed police officer or bank worker over the phone that their account was compromised
● Santander’s own data reveals a 53% increase in the volume of safe account scams in 2019 compared to the previous year
● Over half of Brits (56%) feel more vulnerable to these types of scams due to Covid-19
● Santander is highlighting the risks of safe account scams, working with footballing legend Robbie Savage on a parody of the infamous bath scene from the critically-acclaimed film ‘The Big Short’, as well as launching a series of online fraud prevention classes
Safe account scams are soaring, with new research released by Santander revealing almost half of Brits (45%) would willingly move their money to another account if asked to do so over the phone by someone claiming to be a police offer or bank worker. Santander’s own data sheds further light on the growing crime, with the number of cases rising by 53% last year compared to the year before and costing an average of £5,634 per scam.
With Covid-19 at the forefront of many of our minds, nearly three quarters (74%) of Brits are concerned their loved-ones isolating at home will fall victim to a safe account scam. The nation’s concerns about their own financial safety have also escalated, with over half (56%) believing they are more vulnerable to safe account scams than before the pandemic and 57% specifically worried about their mums falling victim. This risk is underlined as over a third (38%) of people say they have received more suspicious phone calls than they did prior to lockdown.
The research exposes the full extent of the fraud, revealing that 39% of Brits don’t know that a safe account scam is when you’re tricked into transferring your money into what you believe is a ‘safe account’ but is actually controlled by a fraudster. While a mere 14% of people trust phone calls above other methods of communication, such as face-to-face (74%), only 29% of Brits would hang up and call the number on the back of their bank card if they received a call from someone claiming to be from their bank.
To help raise awareness of the risk of being scammed, Santander is working with footballing legend Robbie Savage in a parody of the Hollywood movie, ‘The Big Short’, to help explain how to avoid falling victim. Parodying Margot Robbie with his flowing blonde locks and long legs, Savage proves there is only one ‘Robbie’ for this role. Perplexing terms, complicated jargon and head scratching questions are swept to one side, as Savage lays the scam - and himself - bare. The video can be viewed here.
Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Strategy at Santander, said: “The rise in safe account scams is worrying and an increase of 53% in just one year means we’ve got to turn the tide. That’s why, by working with Robbie Savage on this tongue-in-cheek parody of ‘The Big Short’, we’re breaking down what can be quite a complex scam into clear and simple advice: whatever the reason, never move your money to a ‘safe account’. Instead call your bank using the number of the back of your card.”
To help Brits stay safe, the bank has become the first high street bank to launch a series of free Virtual Scam Awareness Events that will cover the most prevalent types of scams and fraud, including safe account scams. Available to everyone through its events website, the half-hour sessions will provide tips and advice on what to look out for and how to protect yourself from this type of crime. With classes running throughout the week and weekend, specially trained colleagues will deliver the sessions over online video conferencing, with plenty of time for Q&As.
Santander has revealed the below watchouts to protect you from safe account scams:
1. Ask yourself, is this genuine? A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you to ask you to move money to another account for security reasons.
2. Take your time: Always take time to check the person, company or organisation you’re dealing with is genuine. Never be rushed into making a decision or taking action
3. Give them a bell: If in doubt, hang up and call your bank on the number on the back of your card. This will take you directly to your bank on their official number, where you can verify any requests.
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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.
Notes to Editors:
1. The research was commissioned in March 2020 and May 2020 by Santander and conducted by a third party research partner Ginger Comms with a random sample of 2,000 UK respondents aged 16+.
2. Santander statistics from January 2018 to December 2019.
The full video and photos are available on request.
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 December 2019, the bank had around 23,500 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Banco Santander had a trillion euros in total funds, 146 million customers, of which 21.3 million are loyal and 38.3 million are digital, 11,900 branches and 195,000 employees. Banco Santander made underlying profit of €1,977 million in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 1% compared to the same period of last year.
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